It’s Alright

 “Live in the sunshine. Swim the sea. Drink the wild air.” ~ Emerson
 – Photo credit: Benaki Museum, Family Photographs Collection. Athens, Greece –
     I read this letter today, and in light of the recent plane crash in the French Alps, my heart hurts. The hard thing to think about is that it could happen at any moment really. And that it’s not in our control – and when someone you love goes, how can you deal with that? I don’t know if I could. I know I’m not ready for something like that to happen – who is? Maybe it’s unhealthy, dependent, or needy, but I still think that if I would be would be utterly destroyed if anything were to happen to someone I love. But. Somehow, some way, one does have to go on living.
    As in the letter, when he writes to his fiancé, “You will go on living and will have many new, beautiful experiences, but promise me that never a thought of me shall stand between you and life. You feel a searing of the heart, that is grief, they say, but look further ahead, we must all die, and if I pass away a little sooner or later, neither you nor I can say if that is good or bad.”  So that had me in tears today. And it made me think of the movie Rabbit Hole, where the main character loses her young son. At one point, she asks her mother, “Does it ever go away? Does it ever get better?” And her mom answers, “No. It doesn’t. But it’s like a brick you slip into your pocket, and you carry it with you everywhere. And sometimes, you forget that you have it for a little bit. But then you put your hand in your pocket, and you remember.” “And how is that?” says the daughter, after a time. “You know, it’s…fine. Actually, it’s alright,” her mother responds.
 – Photo credit: Benaki Museum, Family Photographs Collection. Athens, Greece –
  Ok. Deep breath. Enough of that. I’m thinking about something that hasn’t even happened to me. I guess every time I check the news, I’m reminded of the unpredictability that life brings. And that’s hard to imagine because security and comfort is something that I think we all hope for, but “everything is so beautiful and so short.” And that’s what I love about the idea of one beautiful, perfect day. How lucky I am, to have had so many of these days in my life. The day in Acadia National Park when we went to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and later on, drove to the cliffs and watched the waves crash up against the sides – deep blue and foamy white and golden evening sun.
     The fall day we went to Centennial Park after getting coffee and lay in the grass with the leaves all around us and talked about everything and nothing. The day in London. The art fair in Berlin and the sunset by Brandenburg gate. The sunset drive on Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The year that we had a white Christmas, and Christmas day with my mom’s favourite album, lamb in the oven, and cake for breakfast. My sister’s surprise birthday party. The time we spent all day at the beach. Chicago with deep-dish pizza, art galleries, skating in Millenium Park, and the most perfect pot of tea.
     The day we spent wandering the Las Ramblas market, trying something at almost every stall, and the perfect long evening run in Barcelona that followed, down the tree-lined avenue, next to everybody and their brother and their best friend who were all also running, and the city was just starting to wake up from the siesta, and later that night, the light show at a water fountain in the city – the dancing in the streets. “Can’t remember the movie where this line is from,” the cellist of our quartet said later that night as we rode the metro back home, happy and sleepy and drunk on sun. “But in one of the scenes, one brother says to the other, ‘We’re the lucky ones, we are!’ That’s how I feel right about now.”
 – Photo credit: Benaki Museum, Family Photographs Collection. Athens, Greece –

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